Prioritize Equity in Budgeting

Local governments stand to lose millions of dollars in revenue as a result of the shutdown of businesses and organizations caused by COVID-19. Several have begun revising their budgets, cutting spending and furloughing employees which will negatively impact critical public services. As the consequences of this public health emergency come more into perspective, it is essential that local elected leaders ensure city and county budgets address COVID-19 economic impacts through a racial equity lens to reduce potential harm to under-served and marginalized individuals and communities. The National League of Cities, which serves the interests of 19,000 cities, towns and villages has called on city leaders across the country to issue a statement or formal resolution affirming their commitment to the values of equity and to work to ensure that this crisis does not exacerbate existing inequities, risks and burdens often borne disproportionately by communities of color and low-income people. Similar to environmental impact statements, racial equity impact assessments can help local leaders to understand the racial equity implications of an existing or proposed policy, program or institutional practice, and determine if it will ameliorate or exacerbate existing economic and social inequities.